Marcel Kittel claims he is almost back to full strength after winning the bunch sprint for sixth place at Sunday's Rund um Köln, saying that he is feeling his old power.
The German sprinter has endured a torrid start to 2015, picking up an illness after January's Tour Down Under that has restricted him to just 15 racing days by the end of May.
Kittel led the bunch home in Köln after a five-man break, headed by Tom Boonen, stayed away for the win. And while the race didn't feature any of the Giant-Alpecin fast man's main sprint rivals, he says it is positive that he is feeling like his old self.
"Unfortunately I didn’t get the hoped-for top result in Rund um Köln today," he wrote on his website. "But still, I won the sprint of the peloton for sixth place.
"The additional mountain training in the Sierra Nevada the last three weeks sure was noticeable today.
"My sprinting was very good again. I am on the best way back to my old strength. And I could even work on my climbing form – yes, even sprinters have that - even though some of my teammates, especially Warren Barguil, set a very high standard."
The sixth-place finish was Kittel's first top-10 since the People's Choice Classic at the start of the season.
Kittel admitted recently that his Tour de France participation would hinge on his performances at the upcoming ZLM Toer (June 17-21) where he will face off against the likes of Andre Greipel, Nacer Bouhanni and Sam Bennett in the sprints.
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